Need tips for helping my 24MO express his anger - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 09-17-2012, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm looking for tips to help my DS express his anger.  He is potty training and does so well except when he is angry.........

He started angry peeing a month ago. He hasn't yet developed enough words to express his feelings or why he is upset/angry.  I'm trying to figure out outlets that will help him express it.  What have you tried?

 

What I have tried:

Once his tantrums subside:  "I'm sorry your angry because of x,y,z"

I started using his drawing pad to draw angry, sad and happy faces.  I explain each emotion but I don't think it's effective

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#2 of 15 Old 09-17-2012, 09:13 PM
 
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When my 2 year old gets mad, he scratches. Or he cries. I allow him to cry for a bit, as I understand this is him venting. He is NOT allowed however to scream and carry on. When this happens he goes to his room. In this way, he can both vent AND learn to control himself (by stopping crying although he doesn't want to) in his anger.

When he scratches, he gets a swift spanking and an explanation why.

Training our children to not act on their emotions is very very hard.

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#3 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 05:39 AM
 
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How does a spanking (an approach based in physical violence) teach a child not to scratch (a response based in physical violence)? 

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#4 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 08:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Shanesmom View Post

When my 2 year old gets mad, he scratches. Or he cries. I allow him to cry for a bit, as I understand this is him venting. He is NOT allowed however to scream and carry on. When this happens he goes to his room. In this way, he can both vent AND learn to control himself (by stopping crying although he doesn't want to) in his anger.
When he scratches, he gets a swift spanking and an explanation why.
Training our children to not act on their emotions is very very hard.

I have MANY problems with this post:

 

1. You allow your two year old to cry "for a bit. ... NOT allowed to scream and carry on". Does your son even have the language yet to understand he's only allowed to get half of his emotions out?

 

2. You are the adult- if you can't stop yourself from hitting how do you ever expect him to? Hitting him to stop him from scratching makes literally NO sense. You are teaching him two things: whoever does the most violence wins, and that mommy is not no longer a safe person to turn to. Its very sad for your son. 

 

3. "Training our children to not act on their emotions is very very hard" What? A child needs to be taught appropriate ways to express emotion; "training" them not to express emotions will lead to all kinds of emotional problems down the line. I don't even know what else to say about this greensad.gif

 

To the OP:

I think the approaches you have started sound great! On a similar thread at MDC I read about a mom who had her child push on the wall in anger. What about yelling into a pillow? Or stomping his feet? Maybe tearing paper? Hopefully someone who has BTDT will have some time tested advice for you, my DD is still young. Good luck!


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#5 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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we are exploring similar things with a 21m old that is clearly a very emotional little guy, his seem to center on frustrations and disappointments.

two expamles for us would be him being told no, specially when it is something he already knew he as not suposed to do/touch.

and his internal disapopintment for not being able to do some skill yet, putitng blcoks together for instance.

 

he expresses this all by usually banging his head and being super dramatic.

 

we have been working on ignoring the dramatic and verbalizing what we feel may be his frustration with empathy. "i know you wanted to touch that, its hard when we cant do everything we want"  but also gently and firmly showing him that banging his head or biting is not an ok behavior regardless of the motivation.  

i struggle with that last part, im torn between not wanting to say anything, because it does feel like devalidating his feeling to say "no" to him banging his head down, but on the other side i do think he needs to be shown that there is ok and not ok ways to express frustrations. so maybe a quick firm non angry no, do just break the cycle and get his attention so that i can empathize and redirect is a good think.

 

its a bit of a rock and hard place, so i feel your pain Lulu

 

 

shanesmom, we do not promote spanking on mothering.com  if you would like to read a bit more on that (and i suggest and everyone does) here is the MDC user agreement

 

"Questionable Content

The Mothering community stands strongly against pro-spanking advocacy, abortion debate, and harsh sleep training, including “crying it out”. Please keep this in mind when you post. ............"

 

I would strongly argue that it is not the goal to "Train our children to not act on their emotions."  but rather to teach them to find proper ways to express and yes even act on the emotions they are feeling. he are humans and will always have emotions, not having good tools to express them leads to distractive pent up behavior.

 

 

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#6 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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this is such an important topic for the OP, lets work on keeping it focused on helping her and her son. otherwise this could get derailed really quick since im sure many of us had a strong reaction the mention of spanking.


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#7 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here.  I appreciate everyone's opinions with that being said I don't condone spanking nor will I ever lay one hand on my child.  I don't

believe in punishing a toddler simply because he/she is behaving emotionally.  What I do feel strongly on is redirecting, explanation of

emotions as they are happening.   

 

Also in response to "no" or "don't touch this/that."  An example is dvd's.  For the life of me and ever since my DS started crawling he

made a bee line to them.  What's more fun then seeing your sizeable dvd collection sprawled out on your living room, dining room and

kitchen.  I could say NO in 10 different languages, different tones nothing will get through to him.  My solution to that is to put it away

in boxes.  I'll take them out when he is much older since now he views them as a fun toy.  Another is the button on the side of the tv

I block it with my subwoofer and a speaker.  Otherwise his little finger will turn on then turn off the tv.  Sigh :) 

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#8 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 10:54 AM
 
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OP, maybe you can develop a repertoire of non-verbal things to do when you're angry that he will be able to model?  You'll probably have to make up pretend anger so you have opportunities to show him your response.  I'm thinking, like, an angry dance "Oh, I'm so angry I'm going to do my angry dance!"  Or sing an angry song.  Something that might even be a bit funny and hopefully break into his anger a little bit along with helping him express it.  I've also taught my 2.5 year old to take deep breaths to help her calm down, and she will now do this without a reminder sometimes.  The peeing thing IS tough.  My daughter does it to get attention when I have lots of chores to do.  I have to really remember to give her the time that she needs so that she doesn't feel like she has to get my attention that way.  And then try to stay extra calm and NOT give her extra attention because of the peeing. 
 

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#9 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 01:35 PM
 
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I'm so sorry, but can I admit that I laughed out loud at "angry peeing"..!  I couldn't help it!

 

I don't have much experience, as DS is not very verbal and lengthy discussions would be lost on him, but I might take a step back and concentrate on identifying the emotion.  Does he know that what he is experiencing is anger (or frustration, or disappointment, etc)?  Maybe he already does..I would encourage him to say (or yell, or whatever), "I'm angry!" just so he's able to identify the emotion with words.  Even after the storm is passed, having him practice saying the words.  

 

My perspective is skewed because my toddler is not very verbal, but I would be inclined to think that a 24 month old might be too young to be able to really redirect emotion to a different outlet...I'm sure some kids can at that age, but just make sure you keep expectations realistic.  I think consistent, short discussions following bouts of anger will take time, but eventually sink in.  "You were angry because XYZ.  I could see that you were angry because you made your hands into fists/your face got hot/your eyes squinted. Next time you feel angry you can yell "I'm angry!" and push on the wall.  Let's practice."




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#10 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 01:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post

The peeing thing IS tough.  My daughter does it to get attention when I have lots of chores to do.  I have to really remember to give her the time that she needs so that she doesn't feel like she has to get my attention that way.  And then try to stay extra calm and NOT give her extra attention because of the peeing. 

 

We are dealing with this, too (I actually just posted about it recently on the EC boards).  I think a major cause here was me picking up some part-time, at home work - seeing me on the computer, not paying attention to him, usually seemed to trigger it.  I, too, am working much harder at giving him more attention, and thankfully from doing EC, I knew better than to make a big deal out of any "misses" - just calmly wiped them up, sometimes with his help!

 

That said, DS has been a fireball of emotions since birth.  He's 17 months now, a very spirited/intense/emotional/sensitive lil fella!!!  He started having epic tantrums around 9 months old, total toddler style.  We work with him on transitions, talk to him about how it's hard when you want to do something and can't quite master it yet, etc. to lessen his frustrations and try to help him through life, but inevitably something upsets him, and he needs to release the pressure somehow.  Lately, though, he has started throwing and smashing things - not a biggie when it's pillows or toys - but today, it was a coffee mug, a glass jar, and a bowl.  This has got to stop, in part just because all those sharp shards are so dangerous!

 

So, I'm not tons of help, except to commiserate, but I am watching this thread for advice, so thanks for posting OP!  We do similar things in general - keep certain objects out of sight/reach, remove temptations, etc.  I like the idea of ripping up paper or pushing against the wall.  I think I could model this for him, though I'm not sure he'd remember in the heat of the moment.  He is picking up words like hotcakes lately, so maybe I can work on teaching him the words for what he feels - I'm sure that would help!  He also sometimes scribbles his angries out with a pen or crayons on paper - the act of expressing himself that way seems to help, especially the act of vigorously scribbling! 


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#11 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post

 

That said, DS has been a fireball of emotions since birth.  He's 17 months now, a very spirited/intense/emotional/sensitive lil fella!!!  He started having epic tantrums around 9 months old, total toddler style.  We work with him on transitions, talk to him about how it's hard when you want to do something and can't quite master it yet, etc. to lessen his frustrations and try to help him through life, but inevitably something upsets him, and he needs to release the pressure somehow.  Lately, though, he has started throwing and smashing things - not a biggie when it's pillows or toys - but today, it was a coffee mug, a glass jar, and a bowl.  This has got to stop, in part just because all those sharp shards are so dangerous!

 

 

This is why we eat off of melamine picnic-ware now!  I only drink coffee out of a travel mug and we only use non-breakable cups and plates and bowls.  I know there is the whole Waldorf-ian theory that we should trust them with glass and they will learn to respect breakable things, but I'll save that for when he's older!  Although it is uncanny how when he does have glass he is intuitively slow and careful with it - I guess something about the weight confers its importance?  Not sure.

 

{sorry to hijack}




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#12 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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We do try to keep most breakable things out of reach - and we use alot of thrift store, mis-matched plates/cups/bowls - or glass jars instead of drinking glasses. smile.gif  We may have to move even further in that direction, though, at this rate!  Before it was mostly just in case something happened, when he was playing rough in the sink, or if it got knocked over by accident.  This is more of a demolition derby. dizzy.gif  Maybe more corn plastic, or bamboo?


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#13 of 15 Old 09-18-2012, 10:39 PM
 
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Wow, I have offended a lot of people, haven't I? smile.gif hmmmm.....maybe I should explain


1. I spank. If you do not, fine. I never leave marks, and I never spank in anger. To discipline from my emotions would be a mistake. By that I mean: one should never raise their voice and yell at a child. As soon as you do so, you have let your emotions take control, and you in turn have lost control. A child should respond to a simple command. When the child does not listen, I do not get angry, frustrated or snap at the child. There is punishment for disobeying. The next time: the child listens to just the command and punishment doesn't have to occur.

2. Teaching your child to not act on their emotions. By that I meant......example: one of the reasons I left my husband was because when he would get angry with me he would throw things at me or he would curse me out in front of my kids. He was "acting on his emotion.". That is NOT THE SAME as exspressing his emotions. My husband acted out his anger. It got the better of him. He could not control that. I do not want my sons to do the same. Even in their anger, I want them to learn how to control themselves, how to EXSPRESS it in a civil manner. This will be learned in time, as they are so young. But i never want them to act on it.

It would appear many people think I do not want my children expressing their emotions. That would be your misunderstanding. Someone said that "I cannot stop myself from hitting my son". This is a bit foolish to say; I honestly have no reply to that.

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#14 of 15 Old 09-19-2012, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Shanesmom---You haven't offended me feel free to always speak your mind regardless of public opinion.  My DH was big on hitting the walls, smashing things or

swearing very loud when he's angry.  He's stopped with the throwing and hitting walls.  I'm still working with him to NOT swear for one but to scream out in anger.

That is proving to be a challenge.  I don't believe the 2 are connected though I feel that DH can influence him.  I found the most important thing to do once this

happens is to explain to DS that "daddy got very angry and when we are angry we don't say bad words or yell."  Then I include my DH in the conversation and

have him explain to DS that he was angry and this is not the right way to express it.  I'm very sorry for what you have gone through.  I can completely relate.

I understand "not acting out on emotions" I'm not an expert but I feel you have to be aware of the emotion you are expressing to suppress or diffuse this.  For

a toddler they are just beginning to learn about their emotions.  I just don't feel that my 24MO consciously knows that he is angry, sad, or frustrated when he

"angry pees" or throws a tantrum.

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#15 of 15 Old 09-23-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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When my dd was that age she could throw amazing tantrums when she didn't get her way. She didn't talk at all, although she understood us pretty well. She had a major temper so what I used to do was have a 'chair'. When she was throwing a fit she had to go in the chair. It was in the same room where I was. While she was having a fit in her chair, I would ignore her completely except to put her back in her chair when she got off. Every time I put her back in it I would tell her that she had to stay there until she was done with her fit. After she calmed down we'd talk about what set it off. She got to where, when she would get mad, she would get in her chair all by herself and scream at me. Then, when she was done, she would get off by herself and come over for a hug and a short 'discussion' about whatever it was.

 

For us, that chair was a safe place where she could release her anger at me or whatever. She never, ever got in trouble for screaming at me there. Ever. But she was not allowed to scream or throw fits anywhere else. After she released all that we could go over proper behavior and all that. As she got older we progressed to yelling in her pillow, or hitting it, but not screaming at what/who made her mad. Now, at 10, she's able to tell me she's mad and ask to go to her room or outside or wherever to 'walk it off'. When she's ready we talk about it.

 

I had a lot of people say that the chair thing was bad, but for us it worked. She has an incredible temper and when little ones are in the middle of one they (or at least DD) can't turn it off and 'discuss'. She had to get it out first. People said it was teaching her disrespect for me, but it hasn't seemed to work out that way for us.

 

Hmmm. I'm not sure I addressed your issue though, did I?

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